Starting a new blog or website can be very intimidating. Below I’ve written some resources for you to get started. These are services that I personally use or have used in the past. Some of the links below may be affiliate links. Read more about my affiliate link policy here.
A2 Hosting – I switched to A2 Hosting after a few years of hosting with BlueHost. I did a lot of research first and every review I read was positive. It offers to host your site on a SSD (faster than an HDD), give you free SSL via Let’s Encrypt, 25 email addresses, and they monitor your network 24/7! If you’re transferring to them, they’ll do the work for you for free and if you’re dissatisfied with them at any point they’ll give you your money back.
BlueHost – BlueHost has cheap setup costs and offer many features such as free domain name, free SSL certificate, 1-click WordPress install, and 5 email accounts that are email@example.com! I’ve used BlueHost for a few years and for different clients and haven’t had an issue with support or page loads.
Google Domains – Even though BlueHost offers a free domain name for a year, it’s smart to keep your domain and hosting separate. In case something goes wrong with your hosting provider you will still have your domain name. I personally use Google Domains, because I like that at only $12 a year, I get a .COM name and FREE private Whois registration. Most providers make you pay for that.
NameCheap – I’ve gone through NameCheap before and have no complaints with them. Domain registration is quick and easy. It’s ~$11 a year for a domain name and the first year of private Whois is free. Private Whois goes up to $2.88 a year after the first year.
Genesis Framework by StudioPress – This is one of the most highly recommended frameworks for WordPress. It has built-in SEO and is future-proof. I use it to build my child themes. It’s designed to be used with a child theme so changes you make won’t get lost when you update your website.
Notepad++ – This is a text editor I use to edit my WordPress themes. It’s simple and easy to use. It color codes text, has color schemes for you to choose from, and allows you keep a folder hierarchy on the side.
Atom – Another popular text editor is Atom. It has the same features mentioned above for Notepad++ and is very popular among young programmers.
MailChimp – This is the most talked about e-newsletter service. It’s free for up to 2000 subscribers, let’s you design your MailChimp newsletters how you need it to be, and you can import subscribers from a CSV or TXT file (or upload an Excel file) if you’re migrating from another service.
Gravity Forms – These forms are phenomenal! They are very versatile and your submitted forms will get to you every time no matter what. I’ve had issues in the past with free contact forms not sending important submissions but never with Gravity Forms. They can do so much more than act as a contact form, too. They have a save feature, a multiple pages features, and you can implement payments through it.
FREE PHOTO SITES
PicJumbo – I use this site for most of my technology-related photos. All photos are high-resolution, easy to download, and absolutely free to use! You obviously can’t claim them as your own, but you’re free to use them in commercial work.
Icon Finder – This website is great for finding icons you may need in your site. Be it an arrow, a Facebook social media icon, or any other icon you might need you can find it here. Some of the icons cost money, but you can toggle the free button when you’re searching to just return free-to-use icons.
Pexels – This website has plenty of free photos available for download and use on your blog/website. Their license is simple and and states their photos are available to use for whatever legal purpose you may have.
FREE PHOTO EDITOR
Canva – I LOVE Canva! I’ve recommended it to so many people. They have a free account option which lets you edit as many photos as you want. You can create a collage with them, edit their colors, add text and images to them. Look at any photo I have on this site. It was made with Canva.
COLOR PALETTE INSPIRATION
My Pinterest Board – I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and saw so many cute color schemes floating around I decided to compile them all into one board. I’m constantly adding to it so make sure to follow it for future inspiration.
Updated: August, 2017